After our long day on a bus for 10 hours to visit the Milford Sound, we thought that a day spent outside on a hike sounded like a good idea. We had read a few travel blogs that mentioned the Ben Lomond Summit as an awesome hike with killer views on top, so we knew this was a must-do for us while in Queenstown.
We woke up Thursday and made a good breakfast, then headed out for our hike that is supposed to take about 8 hours roundtrip (or return, as they say here in NZ). One of the cool things about hiking Ben Lomond is that the entrance to the hike is actually located within the city, so we could actually just walk there from our hostel. The first part of the hike, we were warned, is the steepest part. There is actually a gondola that you can pay to take to skip that part, but what’s the fun in that?!
Once we entered the Tiki Trail that leads you to the Ben Lomond Summit Trail, we started the hike up, and up, and up some more. We started to slightly worry that the entire hike would be this steep and we didn’t know if we were that brave! Luckily the extremely steep part only took about 25 minutes to get through.
For the next 3 or so hours, it was pretty much a steady incline (at times gruesome), but we were in the wide open with stunning views to take in!
We made it to the top in about 3.5 hours and all of our effort was rewarded with 360° views of the mountain range, famously known as The Remarkables, as well as Lake Wakatipu, a huge and beautiful lake that is spread out through Queenstown.
We had lunch atop the Ben Lomond Summit and snapped some pictures (because if there are no pictures, did it really happen?!). We had been warned that there are Kea birds atop the mountain that enjoy stealing anything and everything they can, so we kept our food under our backpacks. Jenny was on her phone for about a minute and turned around to see a thieving Kea hopping away with her baggie of chips!
The way back down was not as daunting as the way up, but also was no walk in the park. We had to be careful and watch each step down, as the path is quite narrow a lot of the way, with many rocks to potentially cause injury if one gets lazy with a step! We were able to snap a few more photos since we weren’t quite as exhausted as on he way up!
We made it to the bottom fairly quickly, and had finished the entire hike in just over 6 hours. We were quite impressed with ourselves since the signage had warned that it would be closer to 8 hours.
To reward ourselves for another hike in the books, we decided to take a few beers with us from our hostel and walk over to get in line for burgers from Fergburger, which claims to have the world’s best burgers. We lucked out and the line was pretty short since it was in between lunch and dinnertime for most people. Score! The food was fantastic (more to come in another blog post), and we were sufficiently full and exhausted after 2 long days.
The next day, we woke up somewhat sore and still exhausted so we decided to take it easy. It was a cloudy, windy day as well, so we had timed our 2 prior days perfectly. That afternoon we wandered around town to take in the sights need the lake, and also enjoyed some beers on a floating bar called Perky’s.
We had quite a few more beers and some delicious pizza from Fat Badgers (which came highly recommended), then called it a night!
We enjoyed Queenstown so much and both wished we had more time there to enjoy the adorable town and stunning views, but both agreed that we’ll be back someday!
New Zealand has been the most incredible place to start our journey, and it sets the highest standard for the rest of our trip! We have made some friends along the way and got to visit some old friends, we’ve climbed a few mountains and soaked in some incredible scenery and views. We love you New Zealand, but we’re also excited to see what we can get up to next in Australia!
~Jenny & Kerry